Snack food frenzy: What it takes to bring pizza and soft pretzels to your prepared foods department

Some days, you just have to treat yourself.

Snack foods get everyone’s attention — the sight and smell of a piping-hot pizza pie or a freshly baked soft pretzel makes everybody’s mouths water, which means they can both be real commercial successes for foodservice business owners considering selling these treats in their stores.

That said, supermarkets or grocery stores looking for a slice of the action shouldn’t let the fun times associated with these snacks cloud their judgment. Pizza and soft pretzels both require careful equipment considerations every investor should be aware of.

Commercial pizza investment comes in a single style: ‘one with everything’
Dough, cheese, tomato sauce — three ingredients that combine to make one of America’s favorite foods. Ostensibly, investors may believe incorporating pizza into prepared foods menus will be simple, but doing so requires planning, especially when it comes to equipment investments.

“Millennials particularly appreciate pizza makers with a gluten-free option.”

Whether a supermarket or grocery store owner decides to go high- or low-brow with their slices, he or she will definitely need to invest in a lot of specialty equipment, from pizza ovens to cooling racks, trays, wooden peels and even proofing pans for dough. That’s not taking into account extra storage space and tables for all the fresh toppings and preparation that go into a delicious pizza. Additionally, according to a 2015 Smart Flour Foods study, millennials particularly appreciate pizza makers with a gluten-free option, regardless of their own dietary restrictions.

Don’t let labor-intensive soft pretzels twist up your business
Salty, buttery soft pretzels make any day special, whether you’re enjoying a baseball game or shopping for your weekly groceries. However, behind the prepared food counter, pretzels have the potential to slow production and cause procurement trouble if they’re prepared manually. To achieve that iconic pretzel twist, supermarkets should consider what automated makeup and depositing equipment could do to take the kinks out of the pretzel process. In addition, ovens like the ITES from Riehle successfully bake pretzels in a fraction of the time without compromising goods thanks to infra-red technology and a variety of programmable baking cycles. It even salts pretzels as they finish!

Moreover, with a more efficient production process, the prepared foods department will want a high-capacity heated display case to show off their wares and keep them hot. Investors should put their money on cases with built-in humidifiers. Not only does this feature makes soft pretzels taste better longer, giving supermarkets the opportunity to capitalize on every fluffy morsel that comes out of their ovens — humidifiers also directly impact the quality of the product. Soft pretzels have “soft” in the name, and without a humidified case, both the baked goods and commercial pretzels sales could go stale.